A lad finds a big red dragon in his basement and wisely seeks expert advice about its care and feeding in this epistolary episode.
Young Alexander’s missives (there are no cellphones, nor parents, in sight) are mostly paraphrased rather than shown, but each response comes as a small note folded into a pocket that’s been printed and shaped like an envelope: “Douse it in water right away!” writes panic-stricken fire chief H. Y. Drant; find it a large house or castle, advises B. East of World Animal Welfare; “fatten it up,” suggests Angus Teak the butcher (“Look forward to [eating, scratched out] meeting your dragon”) with sinister relish. Boy and dragon have wonderful times together, but the ultimate realization that dragons really don’t make good pets leads the narrator to follow the written advice of best friend Hillary (“the wisest person I knew”) and set it free. The later arrival of a slightly burned picture postcard in the “post” reassures him that the dragon won’t be forgetting to keep in touch. The human figures in Yarlett’s cartoon illustrations are either white or have their heads cut off at the page top. With the exception of the pasted-on postcard from the dragon at the end, all of the correspondence is removable and thereby losable.
Yarlett takes poor advantage of the format, as readers see only half of the correspondence, but the premise and punny names add some appeal. (Novelty. 6-8)